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26  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama to announce executive order on immigration on: November 20, 2014, 09:43:59 pm
Accirding to the latest Politico article, Mario Diaz-Balart was on the verge of securing passage of immigration reform through the HoR right before David Brat shocked Eric Cantor in his primary. At that time pretty much everyone here was celebrating except for me. A victory for the forces of obstinacy over those of compromise and moderation, even when the latter is in the form of the otherwise arch conservative Mr. Cantor, is never a good thing. For all those who cheered on Mr. Brat yet would have preferred congressional over executive action, regardless on which side you fall, this is your result.
27  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What is your height? on: November 20, 2014, 06:31:18 pm
Dang, I am shorter than all 30 people who voted before me.
28  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What do you think God is? on: November 20, 2014, 05:49:31 pm
Was this too wordy or too obvious to get a response?

Well first off, God is love and not a stranger.  The rules God uses are simple so that we can all know them.  God offers a full commitment you won't get from anyone else.  God tries to communicate this in ways we all can understand.

God never gives up on us.
God never disappoints us.
God never leaves us.
God never makes us cry.
God never says goodbye.
God never tells a hurtful lie.

We all recognize God and our hearts ache for God, but we're shy about acknowledging that need for someone else.  But God sees inside us and knows that, so God goes along with the game we insist upon. If we'd but ask God how God feels about us, we'd see the love we blind ourselves to.

Anyway, here's a video that explains it better than I can.

Definitely not too wordy. I enjoyed the lines with the rhyme. Although obviously I think that God is a stranger in some ways, I don't think God has to be exclusively a stranger.
29  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Jim Webb on: November 20, 2014, 05:05:08 pm
Anyone's who's liked has a chance. Two weeks is a long time in politics, let alone two years.

Strengths

- Has a certain populist sensibility around him that plays to a certain kind of voter
- Prison reform is a good issue, although he left the Senate before he could see it through
- Veterans' advocacy is a good issue
- The fact that he has actually announced and done so early

Weaknesses

- May be too conservative for some Democrats on some issues
- Left the Senate after one term, supposedly because he didn't like it, but presidents have to do many of the same things as Senators on a larger scale, such as fundraising, etc.
- Most of his career has been a bit one-dimensional on the veterans' issue
- I don't think he's fully put to bed the 'Women Can't Fight' article or all the passages from his novels
- Has only won one election in his life, a razor-thin victory
- Doesn't seem like the most intelligent person in the world
30  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: FiveThirtyEight: Webb would make a good anti-Clinton on: November 20, 2014, 03:44:20 pm

Lol, you're not even a Democrat - you were gloating about how "250 is such a beautiful number" for Republicans in the House. What does it say about Webb that he is being 'endorsed' by people such as yourself?

No, I am not. But Webb is a much better general election candidate than Clinton. He could draw bipartisan support.

That's what they said about Obama. Obama got 18,000 people to caucus for him in blood-red Idaho, remember? I didn't know there were that many people in Idaho. A year later, he couldn't even address Congress without getting heckled. This kind of thing is just baloney thrown out by people who are afraid of Hillary.

I was very much pro Obama in 2008.


I'm not surprised. My point is that there are a lot of people who will support anyone just because they're running against Hillary, regardless of their actual politics.

Back in 2008, I really liked Obama and what he campaigned on. I also like Webb, a tad less though. Obama's promises then (not his policies) and Web's promises now (and hopefully his policies) are something I'd support.

Obama campaigned on change without a plan to actually bring change. Hillary campaigned on change as an outcome of hard work and working the system. Eventually, Obama came around to Hillary's view (ironically, Obama worked harder when it came to his own campaign, which is why he won).
31  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: FiveThirtyEight: Webb would make a good anti-Clinton on: November 20, 2014, 03:27:33 pm

Lol, you're not even a Democrat - you were gloating about how "250 is such a beautiful number" for Republicans in the House. What does it say about Webb that he is being 'endorsed' by people such as yourself?

No, I am not. But Webb is a much better general election candidate than Clinton. He could draw bipartisan support.

That's what they said about Obama. Obama got 18,000 people to caucus for him in blood-red Idaho, remember? I didn't know there were that many people in Idaho. A year later, he couldn't even address Congress without getting heckled. This kind of thing is just baloney thrown out by people who are afraid of Hillary.

I was very much pro Obama in 2008.


I'm not surprised. My point is that there are a lot of people who will support anyone just because they're running against Hillary, regardless of their actual politics.
32  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: FiveThirtyEight: Webb would make a good anti-Clinton on: November 20, 2014, 03:19:30 pm

Lol, you're not even a Democrat - you were gloating about how "250 is such a beautiful number" for Republicans in the House. What does it say about Webb that he is being 'endorsed' by people such as yourself?

No, I am not. But Webb is a much better general election candidate than Clinton. He could draw bipartisan support.

That's what they said about Obama. Obama got 18,000 people to caucus for him in blood-red Idaho, remember? I didn't know there were that many people in Idaho. A year later, he couldn't even address Congress without getting heckled. This kind of thing is just baloney thrown out by people who are afraid of Hillary.
33  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: FiveThirtyEight: Webb would make a good anti-Clinton on: November 20, 2014, 03:12:05 pm

Lol, you're not even a Democrat - you were gloating about how "250 is such a beautiful number" for Republicans in the House. What does it say about Webb that he is being 'endorsed' by people such as yourself?
34  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: FiveThirtyEight: Webb would make a good anti-Clinton on: November 20, 2014, 02:29:08 pm
How dare he oppose the chosen one!

What? No one has ever said merely running against her is offensive. In April, Hillary herself even gave her blessing for Martin O'Malley to start campaigning. Of course, according to Lichtman's 13 keys, having a genuinely competitive primary would damage the Democrats, but it's certainly Webb's right to run if he wants. Perhaps he'll pull Clinton towards the center?
35  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What do you think God is? on: November 20, 2014, 01:27:21 pm
To take a very stark and very simple example. The Christian, in order to please the avatar of god that he worships, wilfully opposes evolutionary theory thinking that to do so pleases god. In actuality, evolutionary theory is part of the human story and is very much, through intent or causation, a representation of god. So the non-believer is acknowledging god and is close to god through learning about the human story but the believer, who has idolised one archaic avatar of god relevant to a now passed period of human understanding, is through his worship…not really paying reverence to god at all. If that makes some sense.

In this particular example, I actually agree that you are right, and Christians should accept evolutionary theory. After all, if God did not endorse evolutionary theory in some form, why would he have put so much seeming evidence for it on earth? The critical part however, is to draw from this only what Descartes called clear and distinct conclusions, and nothing that is not fully justified by the "evidence."

More generally though, you have merely pointed out a possibility. We can never answer any questions about God definitively. So why worship a particular avatar? It can only be for the same reasons why we do anything. Although we can never really "know" anything, it does not matter so long as we are motivated to do things that serve a purpose, and belief / faith is a form of action. So simply, if it makes your life better, then believe; otherwise, do not. The question to examine is not whether God exists, or what form God takes, or what God wants of us, all of these questions are hopeless. The responsibility of the individual and community is to examine what is good for us and how we can better achieve what we want. Any faith in God must flow from this question, and more often than not it does in practice, despite that participants in the debate would claim otherwise.
36  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How much do you like or dislike Oklahoma? on: November 20, 2014, 12:34:03 pm
Never been there, but I've had a romantic image of it ever since reading John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath in middle school, which is only reinforced by songs like "Okie from Muskogee." When I was 11, the deadliest attack by domestic terrorists in history targeted the Federal Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, flattening a school or day care. More recently it has given us the distinguished senior Senator from Massachusetts. You never know what to expect from Oklahoma.
37  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: On Knowledge vs. Confidence on: November 19, 2014, 06:50:58 pm
The word you're looking for is justified, as in "knowledge is justified true belief." The consensus is that justified true belief is at least a necessary condition for knowledge, though not sufficient.

There are many types of justification out there, I guess. But even the weakest justification can resolve your apparent paradoxes. Mary can propose "since when has Rebecca pulled a trick like that with the birthday party?" to get John to think differently. We know a red ball exists either by holding it and thinking that sensation of a round thing in our hand justifies the thought, or get someone else to confirm there's a red ball there, among other things. When your thought experiments seem counterintuitive, it's probably a sign that it isn't attacking something as fundamental as you may think.

Fascinating. The entire article seems to be centered around justified true belief, the Gettier objections to it, and attempts to mend the Gettier objections, and it mentions that at the beginning that "Socrates articulates the need for something like a justification condition in Plato's Theaetetus." I think I'm beginning to understand Alfred North Whitehead's quote that the European philosophical tradition is a footnote to Plato.

In any case, it appears I have been ranting about a subject which I know very little about, and attacking a strawman. Knowledge is not just true belief, it is justified true belief.

Still, how does justification quite answer all of the objections above? My problem is with the true part, not that it is not justified.

If my belief that a red ball is in the room is only knowledge if the red ball really is in the room (e.g., true), how does this not imply that the red ball is a part of the physical manifestation of knowledge itself? Is this not counter intuitive? Knowledge is supposed to be an internal mental state. One does not think of red balls as constituting a part of knowledge.

In order to label something a justified true belief, one must know that it is true. But in order to get at the truth value of a proposition, one must form a justified true belief. This still seems circular.

And there is no physiological difference between a justified true belief and a justified false belief.

I think it's fascinating that Zagzebski takes down JTB+X, and Williamson writes that knowledge cannot be analyzed.

Also it's fascinating that knowledge is generally thought of as a binary (you know, or you don't) whereas confidence is a continuum of varying degrees. If I am right that knowledge is just another form of confidence, then we should have aspects of degree creeping into questions about knowledge. I believe you see that in the final two sections, the ones on pragmatic encroachment and contextualism, as well as one part about whether the quiz show contestant knows that Elizabeth died in 1603.
38  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / On Knowledge vs. Confidence on: November 19, 2014, 04:31:24 pm
It seems to me that when we say we know something, it is just another word for saying that we are supremely confident in it. The only difference is that the word "confidence" deliberately separates out our psychological state from reality, leaving open the possibility that we could be wrong (overconfidence), whereas knowledge does not acknowledge it. (e.g., "I am confident I am strong" vs. "I know I am strong"). But the only real difference between the two statements is that the latter is more confident, since both reference psychological states of mind that do not say anything about actual strength. Hence knowledge is just an extreme form of confidence.

The obvious objection is that we all know cases where someone (perhaps ourselves) were extremely confident in something, yet it turned out to not be true. Since we were confident in it but did not know it, then confidence and knowledge cannot be the same. The problem with this statement is that it implicitly shifts the point of reference. How do we know that "it turned out not to be true"? Well, for whatever reason we're confident of it. We're comparing their (or our previous) "knowledge" with our present (at the time of making the statement) "confidence", so of course there's going to be a difference. But if we compare our "knowledge" and our confidence, again we find congruence.

Even if we perceive a conflict between what we "know" and what someone else is "confident" in, there is no way to know what the real truth is. All we have is a clash of conflicting confidences, some of which override the others.

For example.
John: "I am confident that Rebecca's birthday is on Thursday."
Mary: "I know you're wrong. She told me yesterday it was on Sunday."
John: "She told me she's been telling people it's on Sunday because that's when her party is, but it's technically Thursday."

One could say that knowledge is that which aligns with the objective (external) truth, whereas confidence does not necessarily do so. So for example, if I look into a room and see a red ball, and think there is a red ball, if the red ball is really there then I have knowledge; but if it is hologram then I only have confidence.

This raises a number of problems. First of all, what is the physical manifestation of "knowledge"? By the above definition, if the red ball is there, then the red ball constitutes a part of the existence of knowledge itself. That is, the red ball a physical building block of knowledge, like the leg of a chair is a physical building block of a chair. This is not how we normally think of knowledge. For example, it would be very strange if the phrase "I would like to get to know you" meant "I would like you to change and become something already in my mind" as equally as "I want to fill my mind with familiarity of your being."

Secondly, how do we know whether the ball is actually there or not? We need to know that it is there or not there in order to determine whether we know it or are merely confident in it, but we can only know it by becoming confident in it by some means. This is circular logic.

Thirdly, if we assume that knowledge is something that exists or does not exist in the mind, then there is no physiological difference between thinking the red ball is there (but it not being there), and thinking the red ball is there (and it is really there). If one were to scan to brain cells, chemicals and electrical signals in my mind in the two difference scenarios, there would be literally no physical difference.

The problem for those who want to distinguish knowledge from confidence is that they can't escape the fact that knowledge is subjective. In order for knowledge to exist, there must be someone there to know or not know (even if the subject is not self-aware). We cannot escape our own minds.

I have developed this further but this is too long already.
39  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What do you think God is? on: November 19, 2014, 02:33:01 pm
On the whole I tend to agree. If there is ‘something’ that holds it all together, it’s not organic, it’s probably not sentient, it’s existence may even be transient. It may not be aware of itself or it’s abilities. It does not care if you or I know of it, or if we do know of it, whether or not we kowtow to it. Because in many ways, that would defeat the point of it all. The idea that if there is ‘something’, it’s human in its concerns and picked out a semi nomadic people in one planet out of countless billions of planets in trillions of suns in millions of galaxies in countless universes as important enough to impart it’s wisdom to deciding what people should do and what they should sink their d-ck into is vacuous. It would be the equivalent to me thinking that the entire universe, every person and every event that has ever happened has happened so that I alone (and to hell with everyone else) am here.

I actually agree with a lot of this; if anything I'm even more uncertain. In reality, God is just another word for the unknowable, so to answer the question 'what is God' would destroy the concept of God itself. It would also imply that knowledge is possible, when in reality it is subjective and just another word for confidence. That being said, I think it is reasonable to believe that God communicates to us through a series of avatars, one of which was indeed an old white man in the sky with a flowing beard
40  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Which state is more likely to vote for Hillary? Kentucky or Indiana? on: November 19, 2014, 11:27:53 am
Obama was able to win Indiana partially through a massive GOTV effort in counties with a significant college/university presence--his margins around Purdue, IU, Notre Dame, and Ball State were unheard of--and in major metropolitan areas. He did significantly better in Allen and Marion Counties in 2008 than in 2012, mostly due to turnout.

It's unlikely that any such path to victory exists in Kentucky.

Obama had a partial "home state advantage" due to the region's proximity to Chicago, he would not have won Indiana without this. Enthusiasm on college campuses in 2008 for Obama was also a unique, one-time event. Neither one is likely to be replicated by Hillary- although she was born in Illinois, I don't think she's lived there since 1965.

I would say Kentucky. Two polls there both show a 2-3 point race between her and home state Senator Rand Paul.
41  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: FiveThirtyEight: Clinton probably can't expand 2016 map; GA/AZ not trending blue on: November 19, 2014, 11:21:54 am
Wow. Look at the plunges in 2012. The Republicans really mopped up that year in states that were off the radar.
42  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Any other Democrats anxious about Hillary? on: November 19, 2014, 01:42:48 am
Yeah, Hillary's ardent supporters tend not to be an "internet forum crowd" like Obama's were/are. But internet forum support only gets you so far, as Ron Paul can attest.

I certainly hope so, but internet comments have been fore-warnings of political trends before. Anyone reading the Marketwatch.com comments in late 2008 could have predicted something akin to the Tea Party. Christine Quinn also used to get universally panned on the NY Daily News website, even when she was leading in the polls.

But you're right, Paulism is a counterexample. I remember in 2010 or so when I was watching Sal Khan's videos on fractional reserve banking, he did a video on the gold standard and explained why he thought it would be a bad idea. The video enraged internet libertarians so much that he had to do a follow-up video explaining his ideas more closely. It took continuous efforts by people like Paul Krugman, as well the effects of austerity in Europe, to get people to gradually come around. So Internet trends can certainly be countered, but it's going to be up to Hillary and her team to do it.
43  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Barack Obama on: November 19, 2014, 01:31:24 am
I respect his discipline, which I know he takes prides in. He has remained dignified, which is befitting to the presidency.

I respect him for going all in with health care reform and getting the ACA passed. When he came into office, the experts didn't think health care reform could pass. Even if SCOTUS eviscerates it, I'm glad he pulled the trigger and never looked back.

Obviously I would have preferred Hillary in the presidency; her greater willingness to work the system, tenacity, and occasional populism would have been powerful assets. But the verdict of the primary was handled professionally and cordially by both sides.
44  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Birch Bayh on: November 18, 2014, 11:08:29 pm
Birch Bayh is still alive? Wow. (FF o/c)
45  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Reddit on: November 18, 2014, 11:06:40 pm
I spend a lot of time there, but it's pretty awful. Terrible right-wing politics, the worst kind of taste in culture, an increasing ratio of mindless drivel to actually interesting content, etc.

46  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: NSA reform bill goes down in flames on: November 18, 2014, 10:36:24 pm
The bill would've postponed the Patriot Act's sunset date by two years, so it's probably a good thing it was defeated (though many opponents obviously had different motivations).

The problem is now the next Senate is going to deal with it and they're going to be even more pro-NSA/Patriot Act.
47  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / NSA reform bill goes down in flames on: November 18, 2014, 10:25:31 pm
I would have gladly traded Keystone for this one...

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/mitch-mcconnell-rand-paul-nsa-bill-112984.html?hp=c1_3
48  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Any other Democrats anxious about Hillary? on: November 18, 2014, 10:00:32 pm
I'm a little worried about her as a candidate. The consensus seems to be that she's a strong candidate, but she has some pretty unique and major vulnerabilities.

For one, there's the whole "No dynasties" thing, which I think is a crock of sh__ (especially how the Bush presidency is used against her) but just keeps coming back. It's one reliable line that can always be used against her. I think she's going to have to address this somehow.

Secondly, her negatives are deep. The people who dislike her really dislike her. Her positives, on the other hand, are not so deep. Besides a few people such as IceSpear, myself, and maybe a couple others, not many people will passionately defend her, but there are a lot of lukewarm supporters. I think this is a negative dynamic, because the more people research her, the more general opinion will be driven by those with strong opinions. I don't think many of the people who hate her can be convinced to stop hating her, but she's going to have to gin up her positives and get a critical mass of more than just lukewarm supporters. Yech.
49  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: How can Hillary Clinton excite strong Obama supported while distancing herself? on: November 18, 2014, 01:16:06 pm
I think it would be a mistake to distance herself too much from Obama, because the Republican candidate is always going to be further from Obama than she. Now sure, the Republicans are going to try and make it a referendum on Obama and she needs to develop her own, forward looking proposals to establish herself as her own person, but the electorate should not be going into the voting booths in November 2016 with an unmitigated negative view of O's administration.
50  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: My current (11/2014) electoral college map (Hillary vs Generic Republican) on: November 18, 2014, 11:46:18 am
I would move Missouri from Lean R to Likely R, Louisiana & Kentucky from Likely R to Safe R, NE-2 from Likely R to Lean R, and Florida from Lean D to Toss-Up.

You obviously haven't seen the Florida polls...
Polls more than two years out aren't worth anything.

But they're worth more than anything else we have.
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